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Recent events have forced students to adjust in unanticipated ways. Classes have moved online and many students are taking social distancing or self-isolating measures. Campus closure can present a stressful challenge for everyone. It’s important to take care of yourself and be flexible with yourself and others. Routines have changed. With the transition of moving coursework to an online platform, you will need to find ways to create structure for yourself in order to succeed as an online learner. You will also need to recognize that you, your classmates, and your instructors will have to be patient and work together during this time.
If some of your classes move to a format that does not require you to be online at a specific time, you may not feel the same pressure to structure your life around your coursework. Try to develop new strategies and adjust your strengths to complete your assignments and prepare for tests and exams. Check the document below for some guidance on how to succeed as an online learner.
Develop good habits to manage your workload.
Treat an online course like a “real” course: Devote consistent chunks of time to the class. Online courses are attractive to students because they offer flexibility in learning. However, this flexibility can sometimes cause students to delay working through the course material, thinking they’ll find time later in the week. Online coursework requires you to make the time for it.
If you find yourself procrastinating, sometimes it just means you are unmotivated, but it could also mean you are overwhelmed. For small tasks, it's important to think long-term. Do your small tasks contribute to your long-term goal? Work on smaller tasks for at least five minutes. Often, this will help you find the momentum you need to complete a task. If your task is a regular weekly task, plan to do it at the same time each week. For bigger tasks, break them down into small, manageable chunks. Don't expect perfection, and make sure you ask for help.
With the shift to learning online, it is not only important to develop good habits and a daily structure, but it is also very important to set up a productive environment in which to study and access your online material. When creating your study environment, ask yourself:
When accessing online classes, prepare your mind the same way you would for face-to-face classes. Think about what space is right for you and take time to organize it.
Having a structured space will help you to stay focused during your "online class time".
Students are doing more reading online through digital devices than they ever have before. It's important to develop online/digital reading strategies to ensure that you are engaging deeply with the digital text in the same way you would when reading information printed on paper.
Those who prefer to read print material often have a more interactive, linear experience because they can flip pages, remember where information was located on a page, highlight and write in margins. In contrast, digital reading is non-linear because it takes place on a flat screen; reading often takes more self-control and focus, to navigate through hyperlinked information.
The key to getting yourself to read deeply in any reading format is to ensure you:
The important point of reading, whether it is through digital or print, is to ensure you have a deep understanding and ability to remember the material. Please see the link below for an effective reading strategy to help you make the most of your reading.
When writing online or "take home" exams, it is important to review and understand the format of the exams. Clarify with your instructor the format of the exam, type of exam, specifications, software that may be required and how it works, and the time allotted. Some exams may be timed. Exams may be scheduled at a particular time or open for a range of time, from a few hours to a few days.
When preparing and writing an online exam be sure to:
If your exam is only open for a few hours, you should prepare as you would for an in-person exam. Create some practice exams by using old assignments or tests; practice writing them under time constraints to practice your recall of information.
If your exam is "open book", be sure to spend time prior to the exam to organize your notes and resources (e.g. textbooks, online materials, etc.) so that you can easily reference materials when necessary. This will prevent you from wasting time finding information that could have been easily organized ahead of time.
If your exam is open for a few days, treat it like a final project or essay. Before the exam is released, do some research and preparation on potential topics. Be sure to budget some time before you start your exam to do an outline. Before you submit the exam, budget time to proofread and edit your work.
For further support with exam preparation, check out additional resources here.
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Red Deer College recognizes that our campus is situated on Treaty 7 land, the traditional territory of the Blackfoot, Tsuu T’ina and Stoney Nakoda peoples, and that the central Alberta region we serve falls under Treaty 6, traditional Métis, Cree and Saulteaux territory. We honour the First Peoples who have lived here since time immemorial, and we give thanks for the land where RDC sits. This is where we will strive to honour and transform our relationships with one another.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0).